Spa 24: Jos Menten Racing qualifying report

The free practice and qualifying sessions were not a immediate success for PK Carsport. The Belgian team had prepared everything down to the finest details, but nobody had foreseen the apocalyptical weather conditions. The morning started...

The free practice and qualifying sessions were not a immediate success for PK Carsport. The Belgian team had prepared everything down to the finest details, but nobody had foreseen the apocalyptical weather conditions. The morning started off with a damp track which slowly dried out. Anthony Kumpen, Mike Hezemans and Jos Menten respectively took it in turn to sort out the set-up, but the Corvette C6.R wasn't performing correctly: "The team usually starts off with a hard set-up, systematically softening it until the ideal is found. For the first half hour Anthony and Mike needed to tread carefully, calling in regularly in the pits for additional fine- tuning. Once the track started to dry out the car became far more stable", Jos Menten told us. The Haelen based driver registered the third time, but once the heavens opened up again it was back to being highly cautious: "We still need to work on our wet set-up, but with these weather forecasts we'll have time for that later on.."

Pre-qualifying was also under drying out conditions, but they were not out to clock up fast lap times: "We carried out various adjustments to the car, but the road holding is still not ideal", Menten continues. "Kurt, Anthony and I tested out a few new things and we only used up one set of tyres in this session. Should it dry out later on we'll have an extra set of tyres for the qualifying session ... that's if we need to bring out the slicks!". PK Carsport finally completed the pre-qualifying in sixth place, a trifling distance from the competition.

At around 19.00hrs the sun makes way for some very dark clouds. The weather forecast is pretty gloomy. The first qualifying session kicks off on a dry track, but after some ten minutes the FIA GT championship competitors are in trouble. Apocalyptic conditions change the Spa-Francorchamps circuit into a wild water torrent. The three Vitaphone Racing Maserati MC12 are at the right moment on a fast lap and take full advantage of same. Team Sangari and Selleslagh Racing Team complete the top-five, whilst PK Carsport cannot achieve anything better than a seventh place: "Mike experienced a technical problem. We had just fitted a new exhaust, but there was still some play on it. Due to the heat a cable burned though and the engine started to misfire. Once this has been sorted out the heavens opened up. No way we could we clock up a better time", the 28 year old Dutchman commented. "A seventh place obviously isn't a victory, but we'll get through it. The trophies are only handed out once you have crossed the finishing line, and that's on Sunday at around 16.00hrs."

In the second and third qualifying sessions all the drivers completed their compulsory night driving laps, but a further attack on the Maserati- hegemony wasn't on the books. On Saturday the PK Carsport Corvette C6.R will take the start from the fourth row on the grid, rubbing shoulders with the Gigawave Motorsport Nissan GTR.

-credit: jmr

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Drivers Mike Hezemans , Jos Menten
Teams Nissan Motorsport